Folsom native Ryan Robinson is anything but a slacker—except, of course, when he is. Ryan recently established a world record for slacklining more than 1,900 feet across the American River, connecting two Folsom bridges.
He recently reached some new California heights (and then some) on a road trip through a part of the state that is both familiar and new to him—Redding, Shasta Cascade, Humboldt County, and Lake County—and he shared a few defining moments.
1. Before we get into your trip, what inspired you to set that record in Sacramento?
The inspiration for a world record highline between the Folsom bridges started long before I even knew if it was possible. Around eight years ago, when I was just getting the hang of slacklines measuring 50 feet long, I would set up practice lines at the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area. From there, the bridges were in view and my mind started to entertain the idea that maybe someday technology and skill within the sport would allow for such a long line to be established. At the time, though, the length records measured about a quarter of that length, so even thinking about it was crazy!
But the dream of someday being able to not only walk a line that long, but also to have the opportunity to share it with my community, was something that I would play over and over in my head. I would run through the entire experience, from walking and struggling on the line, to stepping off of it in the presence of the wonderful community that raised me. That inspired me to see through a task that took more than three years to accomplish.
2. What were some of the road trip’s highlights for you?
It was cool to be able to see so much of California in such a short amount of time! Driving through Shasta is always special because I’ve climbed that mountain three times, and each time was a very memorable experience. The vistas and hidden gems all around make it so unique and inspiring. Finding waterfalls is always one of my favorite things to do on a trip, and the Shasta area has several beautiful ones that we enjoyed. Then being able to shoot off to the coast at a moment’s notice, hiking through the redwoods at dusk, and arriving at the Lost Coast for the most amazing sunset with my friends was a perfect moment.
3. Tell us about your time in UpState CA (Shasta Cascade and Redding).
One of my favorite things about Shasta is the diversity hidden away in pockets everywhere. We found magical waterfalls that came out of nowhere, and they were so easy to access. We also discovered Castle Crags this way—one of the most inspiring sets of spire rocks I’ve ever seen, and it’s a few minutes off a freeway I’ve driven dozens of times!
4. Humboldt County is a beautiful part of the state—where did you explore? Did you slackline in any beautiful settings?
In Humboldt County, we spent a lot of time in the redwoods, going down the scenic highways and taking unknown trails just to grasp the magnitude of the trees. When we arrived in Arcata, we found a beautiful redwood grove and set up a highline. It was amazing to experience because of the intense silence inside the forest. Usually when I’m highlining, there’s wind or depth that adds a lot of noise, but you could hear a pin drop in these forests and that was magical.
5. Do you have a favorite photo from your recent trip? Tell us more about the moment you captured.
I would have to say that the photos and the experience we had on top of Mount Tam were some of the most emotional and inspiring ever. We went to Mount Tamalpais State Park because we were feeling inspired by experiencing a sunset on top of the peak there. It was also a chance to take one of the biggest, freshest breaths of air I’ve taken in a long time while watching the sun set over rolling hills in the distance. Then, as the sun went down, people on top of all the hills started howling and cheering because it was so majestic! These are some of my favorite moments in life, when a perfect moment of presence makes us forget about the stresses of the past or the future and we can just appreciate exactly where we are.
6. As a Sacramento native, what do you make of California’s diverse offerings as a travel destination?
I’ve been all over the world, and I mean it when I say that I’ve yet to find another place that offers as much beautiful diversity as California. From deserts as far as the eye can see to 3,000-foot cliffs towering over the Yosemite Valley to a coastline that graces us with everything from beautiful beaches to the most rugged coastline—this place is magical. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it and I don’t think I’ll even come close to fully exploring it.